Choose Joy

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 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.  For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. Philippians 1:12-13 NLT

There are some experiences in life that are not happy. You close your eyes and hope that when you open them again that it would have been a dream; but nothing changes the reality of your situation. You don’t know what happened and you are overwhelmed. You ask why but you cannot understand why it’s necessary to travel down this road riddled with pain and hurt.

The Apostle Paul had an experience like that. He was sitting in jail when all he did was preach the gospel of Christ. He had every opportunity to feel sorry for himself but instead of looking at his chains, he looked at God’s greater plan. He did not focus on his chains even if he had to live with the consequences of prison. He lost his freedom; he lost his individuality and some avoided him at all cost. But that experience did not take away his joy. The dictionary defines joy as a feeling or state of great delight or happiness.

Prison did not conquer Paul. It was not an occasion for him to grow bitter and resentful but it became a new platform to spread the gospel. The gospel is not limited to those in your comfort zone; the Good News has to reach into places that you might not want to go. But when Paul became an inmate, he had a captive audience to spread the Good News. His lifestyle changed the prison guards and they concluded that his chains were not as a result of wrongdoing but for preaching the gospel of Christ.

The impact of his experience reached beyond the prison walls. Those who were timid to share the gospel were empowered by his example.  If Paul could continue to do the work of ministry in chains then they could do the same. As a result, they began to serve God and share the gospel with confidence. Paul was in a physical prison but many times you could find yourself in a figurative prison. Can you serve God faithfully from your prison? Paul had a variety of prison experiences but he never allowed his prison experiences to erode the joy of the Lord in his life. If you are going through a prison experience; put on your garment of praise for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Thought for Today: Friend, don’t allow anything to rob you of the joy of the Lord.

Have a blessed day and walk in faith and victory.

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